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Carson Wentz named Eagles' starting quarterback

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Carson Wentz will start Week 1 for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Coach Doug Pederson announced the rookie will make the start Sunday versus the Cleveland Browns.

"We obviously made this decision. And I spent the weekend with my offensive staff ..." Pederson said. "Everybody feels like this kid is ready to go and we drafted him to take on the reins and it's something now we are prepared to do."

Wentz played just one preseason game before suffering a hairline rib fracture after taking a massive hit. Being named the starter signals he's healthy following the injury.

Wentz told reporters that he was out goose hunting when he found out he was the Eagles' new QB1.

"I was actually right in the middle of a cornfield hunting when that happened," Wentz said. "So I got the call. I was obviously very surprised but instantly I was just really excited. A lot of excitement going on and I quickly cleaned up and got out of there. There was just so many emotions going on with my family and stuff, so now it's just down to business. I'm very confident and I'm very excited to get this opportunity."

Throughout the offseason the Eagles insisted they were planning to sit Wentz because the North Dakota State product needed time to improve his mechanics, footwork and mental approach to the NFL game. On July 17, Pederson said Wentz would likely be inactive on game day.

Seven weeks later, the Eagles shipped presumptive starter Sam Bradford to Minnesota and are rolling with Wentz heading into the season.

"We've got to be smart in how we handle it but at the same time fully expect him to perform how he's capable of performing in what we've seen throughout OTAs and training camp ..." Pederson said of Wentz. "What he did in all OTAs, what he's done around this building, the plays he's made in practice, in the one preseason game has given me confidence that he can lead this football team."

Pederson added he's confident in Chase Daniel as Wentz's backup and mentor. As to the notion that Daniel is disappointed to be leapfrogged by a rookie, the coach said he "hoped" the vet would have the competitive drive to not be bummed, but Pederson added he isn't worried it will affect the team-first approach.

The Eagles need the team to buoy their rookie starter. Wentz jumps from FCS to NFC East starter with 39 snaps in the second-half of one preseason game under his belt. Wentz is just one of two rookies starting under center -- neither is No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. Zero people in May would have guessed Wentz and Cowboys fourth-rounder Dak Prescott would be starting Week 1.

"It's something that we believe in, I believe in, this is why we drafted him," Pederson said of reversing course on Wentz. "Would the ideal situation be later than sooner? Sure. But right now, where we are, we got a good football team around him, great defense, special teams. So all the pieces are here for him to be successful and for us to win some games."

The Eagles enter 2016 with a stout defense in coordinator Jim Schwartz's first season. It will need to be. The Eagles' offense could be painful to watch. There are question marks along the offensive line (which won't help the rookie's injury), Ryan Mathews hasn't been a healthy workhorse throughout his career and the receiver corps is one of the worst in the NFL.

Wentz has talent, but he's also being tossed into the fire without much offensive backup.

Philadelphia's offense might not be that much worse with Wentz instead of Bradford. But it certainly makes the Eagles much more interesting. If Wentz can improve as the season progresses, it will immediately justify Howie Roseman's investment in the strong-armed passer.

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